master critique


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Photographer: W. Eugene Smith
Title of work: Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath
Location/Year: Minamata, Japan. 1972.
Photography Genre: Photojournalism
URL:http://www.masters-of-photography.com/S/smith/smith_minamata.html

Historical background
"Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath" was shot in post-Second World War period Minamata, Japan. As illustrated in the image, a mother is bathing her child, deformed from the time of birth due to mecury poisoning; a result of massive pollution.

Work content:
Technical qualities
Composition of the image demonstrates fluency in geometric composition and stresses heavily on the golden section, demonstrated in the placement of the subjects’ faces in the frame. (Refer to image) Lighting and exposure is unusual, the source of light on the subjects coming from the side/back produces a quality similar to paramount lighting, giving it a very dramatic appearance. The final print as shown holds rich tones, showing a very good range from the blacks, to grays and whites. Details and textures are preserved.

Aesthetic qualities
This piece of work is symbolic. If the viewer compares the photograph to the works of great artists during the renaissance period (e.g. Michelangelo, Botticelli and Raphael), He/she may be able to find a number of similarities of composition to that of W. Eugene Smith's photograph, to the depiction of Madonna holding on to the corpse of the dead Christ, by the various great artists from the renaissance. Due to the theatrical quality of "Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath," expressed in the image, it is cynically beautiful and yet poignant. As water itself holds ethereal significance in various religions, the act of mother bathing her child is symbolic of Christians receiving baptism, Hindus bathing in the Ganges, or of washing away bad luck or sins in Oriental culture.

Influence in media
The image itself is shocking and disturbing. It serves as a reminder of suffering, preserving the world heritage, holding historical value for future generations to learn from the past by reading images in paintings, sculpture, architecture and photography.

Summary
This piece of work has gone beyond just good technical control in the photography. It also demonstrated the effective use of an image as a statement. Being sensitive to his surroundings, cultures, practices and history; together with sound technical foundation in camera handling and exposure of film, W.Eugene Smith have presented to us with works great work of art and questions to humanity. The role of art seen here is not merely an act of beautifying but plays a significant role in recording history and educating the society.

A good piece of work demands multi-aspects of disciplinary. There should be good balance between technical skills, subject, and intellectual. As seen in Mr. Smith’s work, his work was not only visually beautiful, it is haunting, and disturbing. His picture does not tell us about his thinking, but invited us to his experience. And this experience is indeed more descriptive than any words can describe.

Written by Excentrique and Scriabinesque
The references here are strictly used for study purposes. No part of this reference shall be copied for used for commercial purposes.
 

rty

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Jan 19, 2002
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#6
Originally posted by excentrique
Photographer: W. Eugene Smith
Title of work: Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath
Location/Year: Minamata, Japan. 1972.
Photography Genre: Photojournalism
URL:http://www.masters-of-photography.com/S/smith/smith_minamata.html

Historical background
"Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath" was shot in post WWII Minamata, Japan. The destructive nature of the atomic bomb had gone beyond destroying land and lives. Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not spared of the toxic radioactive effects of the bomb. The explosions consequently brought endless suffering to future generations of the two cities. As illustrated in the image, a mother is bathing her child, deformed from the time of birth due to radiation poisoning that remained in her after the atomic explosion.

Written by Excentrique and Scriabinesque
The references here are strictly used for study purposes. No part of this reference shall be copied for used for commercial purposes.
Hi Excentrique,

Allow me to make some correction on your research. Tomoko Uemura was a victim of methyl mercury poisoning, inadvertently released by Chisso Co into the Minamata Bay, hence the disease is called Minamata disease. It has nothing to do with the Word War II atomic bomb radiation in Nagasaki or Hiroshima.

For further references on Minamata disease, here are some of the urls:

http://reduce.no/links.cfm?type=1&country=engl#1

http://fischer.jinkan.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~kitabatake/jinnkann fo-ram 2000 kitabatake.pdf

http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0007/hughes.htm

http://www.ecosuperior.com/pages/minimata.htm

http://members.tripod.com/~Sandra_Justus/SandrazEnvironmentalStories_index.html

http://www.kumanichi.co.jp/minamata/suigin/english/20011014.html

http://old.smh.com.au/news/0110/17/world/world15.html


http://www.einap.org/envdis/Minamata.html
 

Apr 7, 2002
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skyetan.multiply.com
#7
Originally posted by rty


Hi Excentrique,

Allow me to make some correction on your research. Tomoko Uemura was a victim of methyl mercury poisoning, inadvertently released by Chisso Co. The disease is called Minamata disease. It has nothing to do with the Word War II atomic bomb radiation in Nagasaki or Hiroshima.

For further references on Minamata disease, here are some of the urls:

http://reduce.no/links.cfm?type=1&country=engl#1

http://fischer.jinkan.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~kitabatake/jinnkann fo-ram 2000 kitabatake.pdf

http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0007/hughes.htm

http://www.ecosuperior.com/pages/minimata.htm

http://members.tripod.com/~Sandra_Justus/SandrazEnvironmentalStories_index.html

http://www.kumanichi.co.jp/minamata/suigin/english/20011014.html

http://old.smh.com.au/news/0110/17/world/world15.html


http://www.einap.org/envdis/Minamata.html

Apologise for the historical blunder...
 

rty

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
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#8
Apology is not necessary, my friend. ;)

Say, aren't you glad that Scriabinique's doubt is not true? At least now you know someone is scrutinizing your work. :bsmilie:
 

Apr 7, 2002
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#9
Originally posted by rty
Apology is not necessary, my friend. ;)

Say, aren't you glad that Scriabinique's doubt is not true? At least now you know someone is scrutinizing your work. :bsmilie:
Well, I definately won't forget this history again in my entire life. :bsmilie: Looks like I'm also learning from my own mistakes.
 

rueyloon

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Jan 17, 2002
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#10
I was told this was a posed shot....

he had informed the mother the day before that he would come by the next day to shoot the photo..... and there seems to be evidence of lights....

so to the budding photojournalist here..... nothing happends by chance, it takes alot of planning and research.
 

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